Yunnan Province, 315km (196 miles) NW of Kunming, 25km (15 miles) NW of Dali

While Dali has become overcommercialized and overcrowded, Xizhou is finally starting to flower. Historically, this was a military fortress of the Nanzhao Kingdom and a temporary palace. Because of its favorable geographical situation, the town thrived prior to 1949 when there were more than 140 nationalist families, collectively known as the "Xizhou Chamber of Commerce," flourishing here. It now showcases incredibly well preserved Bai architecture that feature capacious courtyards and peaceful streets with a calmness and elegance typical in ancient times.